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Thread: I Need to Buy a Used Power Chair and I'm Overwhelmed!

  1. #1

    I Need to Buy a Used Power Chair and I'm Overwhelmed!

    I need to get myself into a power chair as soon as possible. Since meeting all the requirements to get Medicare approval for a new chair down here in Paradise is proving to be a nightmare, it looks like I'm going to have to buy a used chair to tide me over while I work through the Medicare process.

    If your daughter/sister lived in the middle of nowhere, needed to buy a used car chair, and knew next to nothing about them, what advice would you give her?

    The most obvious difficulty I see is finding a used chair that fits me properly. Is it possible to modify things like seat size, floor to seat height, backrest height, location of controls (left or right), etc.? Are there certain models of chairs that are easier to modify the others? Would such modifications need to be done by a professional or is it something that two people who've never seen a power chair before, but can follow instructions could do on their own?

    Other than that, I don't know what I don't know. What other factor should I consider when trying to decide whether or not a chair will meet my needs?

    I can't tell you how grateful I am to be able to ask so many knowledgeable people for their advice! Thanks in advance to all who take the time to share their advice.
    It is easier to find men who will volunteer to die, than to find those who are willing to endure pain with patience.

    ~Julius Caesar

  2. #2
    Hello HipCrip,

    I bought one from eBay a few years ago. The controller location can be easily moved from right to left arm so that is nothing to worry about. If you do not need elevate and tilt, you should find a chair pretty easy and in good shape and at a very reasonable price. You would probably want to stay away from a high end chair unless you really need all the features because this could be a problem if repairs are needed.

    Pride makes a good chair but whatever brand you want, go look up the chair and read the details. I will not buy a chair (or car) without talking to the owners first. I figure if they will not talk to me about the chair, then they may be hiding something. I looked at a couple of places that sold/warranted used chairs but they were too pricey for me. Be sure to negotiate shipping as I have no idea what that would cost.

    Just list the things need and I would be glad to help you search.

    Good luck to you.
    ''Life's tough... it's even tougher if you're stupid!'' -- John Wayne

  3. #3
    Senior Member forestranger52's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    From a small cabin in the big woods of The Allegheny National Forest, PA
    Quickie, Invacare and Permobil make good chairs. Not a lot of adjustment neded for powerchairs to operate. Armrest height, back angle, leg rests and such are adjustible on most chairs. Most can be made with minimal mechanical skills. I would not go without tilt.

    The seat width and length is the most important and is seldom changable.
    Last edited by forestranger52; 10-19-2012 at 06:45 PM.
    C 5/6 Comp.
    No Tri's or hand function.

    Far better it is to try mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure. Than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much or suffer much, because they live in the grey twilight that knows neither victory or defeat.

    Teddy Roosevelt

  4. #4
    Maybe you can have my Permobil C500 Stander.

  5. #5
    Can't speak for others, but Quantum Tru-balance seating systems are easily adjustable for seat depth and many other parameters. Width adjustment is trickier. It could be done but you might have to cut down the seat pan and drill more holes or buy a wider pan. The backs might not be adjustable. Most of the structural assembly has multiple holes already drilled so you can assemble in 1" increments including foot riggings. If you find the right width, a mechanically inclined person should be able to make the adjustments.

    If I had known how cheap I could get a like new chair I wouldn't have even bothered with Medicare. The 20% copay is more than you will pay for a nice used chair from a private party. I bought an extra chair cash just to have a backup or spare parts.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    San Diego, CA, USA
    In my experience, bargains can be had on eBay and Craig's List, but usually not immediately. The sellers are roughly divided into vendors, relatives of the recently departed who know what the insurance paid and expect to get most of that sum back, and folks who want to see the chair go to a good home. You want the last category.

    I found a decade old, barely used, Invacare Torque, with new batteries, for $300. But it took me about 6 months of daily looking, and I live in southern California with it's huge population base.

    I saw many chairs for sale at high prices, but I did not see a single actual sale for over $1000. Some chairs would reappear month after month. Only Permobil, which seems to retain the best value as reflected in used prices, approached a $1000 in actual sales price. Lower end Pride chairs with captains chair style seats are the most common, the cheapest, and are frequently lightly used. I think they are mostly sold to the elderly.

    If you get the serial number of any chair you are interested in, the manufacturers web site will tell you when and where it was sold, and what the original specifications were.

    Be hyper aware of the shipping cost. Chairs go motor freight, and that is a big hassle for both the seller and the buyer. Many sellers specify local pickup only. The shipping expense was typically more than I was willing to pay for the chair. If you do find a chair, make absolutely certain that the shipping is sorted out before you click on the buy button.

    If there is any chance you can find something local, it is probably your best option.

    Good luck.
    T4 complete, 150 ft fall, 1966. Completely fused hips, partially fused knees and spine, heterotopic ossification. Unsuccessful DREZ surgery about 1990. Successful bladder augmentation using small intestine about 1992. Normal SCI IC UTI problems culminating in a hospital stay in 2001. No antibiotics or doctor visits for UTI since 2001: d-mannose. Your mileage may vary.

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